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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 7, 2014 12:00am-2:01am EST

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we use it is going to have an impact on the leverage of countries like russia that for many years have used an abundance of hydrocarbons is a tool of national security. >> so would it be fair to say there are active discussions at high levels relative to how we use this resource, natural gas today to help us with some of the issues we are dealing with in europe right now both their resistance to put in place sanctions and ukraine itself? there are active discussions at high levels regarding that. >> there certainly is. >> thank you. >> senator mccain. >> first i have a great respect for my massachusetts colleagues understanding these issues at his request that we have to have a national debate about this is very appropriate. i think when that debate is engaged we will find the
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position that we should use in the strategic and specific way our assets to accomplish important national security is not based on an illusion or lack of analysis. it may have ended the day as a matter of trade-offs we may see their advantages but the advantages are outweighed by domestic pricing and economic effects but i know with interaction with nations that are currently in the nations that have received waivers from secretary kerry to enable them to purchase iranian oil for example you know they get a waiver from the sanctions regime because their economies would allow them to function absent iranian oil. they are very interested in what trade-offs they could achieve in purchasing american energy and weakening their reliance on iranian oil. that can be a very powerful
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lever in attempting to find the diplomatic path that we want in a nuclear weaponized iran. i think the national debate is a good idea. i think they're going to be trade-offs. it may end up that we want to keep everything on shore and not use it that way but the belief that this is an asset that can accomplish a national security objective is asserted with about analysis or an illusory one i think will be true but -- proven to be untrue at the end of the day. >> i can do it in one minute and i will just say this. we are a capitalist country, not a communist country. venezuela and russia can direct their oil and gas anywhere they want. we can't do that. we should just accept capitalism it's going to the highest prices china and south america and if we allow for 50% rise in natural gas prices here the large bus
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and truck fleet is ready to convert natural gas. if you just do one third of that fleet you have one million dollar -- 1 million barrels of oil. the more we become energy independeindepende nt the stronger the united states isn't that isolates us right now from russia is that sense that they don't have any control over our situation we have to be very careful that we don't miss the opportunity to break total dependence on converted oil and that is what natural gas and buses and trucks allows to happen and that is what we establish with a strong base allows to happen and secretary carey said this. climate change is a huge national security issue. the faster we can convert from coal to natural gas is the sooner we will meet our greenhouse gas commitments in
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copenhagen and later in paris. so i just put it into national security context and ask for a real debate not an illusory debate by economic experts objectively weighing in on this as well so i think you. >> i see the debate has been started. let me thank this panel for a lot of insights. we may have a little difference here on how we as her energy but there is no difference between us on standing up to russia's aggression and what we need to do in response. i looked for it to the committee coming together as it has so many times to do that by early next week and with the thanks of the committee, this panel is excused. >> your full statements will be included in the record without objection and we would ask you to summarize your statements in about five minutes so we can
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have the type of dialogue we had with their previous panel. mr. garton stine i think we can start with you. >> chairman menendez ranking member corker and establishment of the committee is an honor to appear before you to discuss the spillover effect of the syria conflict. at this point the syria war is likely to continue for a long time. we shouldn't altogether ruled out the possibility that assad's regime could fall unexpectedly fast. the regime could be seriously threatened if infighting declines but nonetheless it is now clear that assad's fall is not the ability and the likely scenario is that in which the intelligence community project which is the war continuincontinuin g for another decade award. it heavily supported iran and
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russia and the second is his willingness, brazen willingness to allow jihadists and other actors problematic by outside states to flourish relative to other rebels. this machiavellian strategy has served his purpose. the measure role jihadist play astern western countries and others from throwing significant weight behind the opposition. to world serious -- and major ripple as foreign fighters. the impact this area war will have on this generation of jihadists will be every bit the equal of what the afghan soviet war meant for militants who came of age in the 1980s. post-conflict should be considered first order of humanitarian disasters. both conflicts attract a large number of sunni muslim fighters
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in imports and many foreign fighters lead to jihadists factions. in the afghan soviet war relationships amongst militants forged on the battlefield endured for decades and change the international security environment and gave birth to al qaeda and foreign fighters roles in many conflicts such as the extraordinary bloody algerian civil war were significant. but afghan soviet war the syrian war will also have far-flung consequences. around 11,000 foreign fighters have been drawn to the battlefield of number that rivals the number of errors who flock to south asia to help the afghan cause of the 1980s. direct roles in the highlighted european muslims who fought assad and concerns of the javascript trigger recent study estimates up to 1900 of the foreign fighters in syria hail from western europe and this is now seen as a top national security's concern in several european western countries how are the impact of foreign fighters is likely to be felt most acutely outside the west.
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about 2100 jordanians at 10 jihad in over 1000 as saudi's have gone to fight in syria to time in the country is challenged by demographic trends. it simply given a population explosion the oil is buying them less and less relative to the population which makes it difficult for them to absorb the foreign fighter challenge. the afghan soviet war shows foreign fighters can produce consequences in unanticipated places. about 1002 nations have gone over and in donations for the first time going overseas to fight not just to train which has given rise to concerns that this conflict made bring -- brief new life into the group considered to be -- my written testimony emphasizes this principle that we have already scene into countries in lebanon and iraq. we talked about the revitalization of the islamic estate of iraq which is a
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serious concern. already the syrian war is a major tragedy and is likely to have a tragic ending. the u.s. is probably unable to avert that even if we choose to become more deeply involved. at a policymaker level i described the u.s. as response to developments in syria is confused. i sure the frustrations of this panel about our strategic drift into this conflict. we seem to think we know what we don't want to happen but have little idea in my view had to get there. further there is the reset the more involved we choose to be the greater the danger we draw into the conflict in ways we don't attempt. one tired he should be ameliorating the massive humanitarian crisis in the region. something we should do for moral reasons but also for strategic reasons as refugee camps and the manocherian factors can service a potential radicalizing element. perhaps it's desirable for the
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u.s. to provide arms to small-arms and provide u.s. with the presence of the platform. we should resist the temptation to send antitank or aircraft weapons to syrian rebels which present significant risk that the weaponry could end up and shot his hands. an unfortunate reality of the 21st century is that we need to deal with the environment of severely constrained resources and in syria it's very difficult to achieve real strategic gains at an acceptable cost at this point. thank you for inviting me to testify in a look or two talking to you during questions. >> thank you very much chairman menendez and members of the committee. there is of course a multiple connection between the two issues of ukrainian syria not the least that president assad announced he is supporting a putin in that conflict. the one humanitarian catastrophe that threatens to tear the region apart has injected new
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oxygen and terrorist groups and movements driven by violent ideologies around the region including but by no means limited to groups associate with al qaeda. we are now facing a sharp rise in violence within both the radical sunni and the shiite camps. over the past two weeks not -- much of the discussion is focused on diplomatic talks but this hearing is about the regional implications on serious so i want to focus on three things. first is the flow of foreign fighters to the middle east and back home in the impact this is having in the region not just the potential to go to europe or here, a very real threat but what is already happening. the very sharp increases result of the war endangers macrotraps the kinds of things that create conditions conducive to long-term violence and instability in the region. as a was thinking about this hearing i reread a declassified 1993 report written by state
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department's inr intelligence and research branch in which they discuss things like the foreign fighters coming home for meth and assam. v-8 afghanistan and insert syria to support -- this report could have been written yesterday. fighters are traveling from around the world to fight on either side of this sectarian war and they know the greatest number of foreign fighters on both sides come from the middle east. the likelihood we are already seeing the majority of radicalized fighters are going to go home and attack their homes in the region for the common strike in europe or the united states. we have already seen in an israeli-arab convicted for fighting with israel. we have already seen cases of suicide bombers and in the end were said to tunisia. we see people coming back from syria and targeting attacks in egypt.
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the cases go on and on but none of this should surprise. 21 year's ago i noted this money supplies this money supplies and manpower to supplant the then afghan mujahideen is now contributing experienced fighters to groups worldwide and it will be again today. consider the role of libya that at this time and think about onstar al-sharia operating on the ground not in libya but in syria. in lot lot to give for example setting up a bakery and organizing in al-sharia aid to the communities. meanwhile how complicated has gotten? you have iran not only supporting sadat -- assad and hezbollah for its supporting al qaeda elements moving foreign fighters and raising money particular from kuwait through iran and knowingly allowing al qaeda elements to do so within iran. in terms of proxy issue this is no longer a simple rebellion.
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this is grown into a classic case of a proxy war between the sunnis gulf states and iran and the other. the same vocabulary that to humanities -- dehumanizdehumaniz s the other will set the stage for the next decade. the bottom line is while the war itself might be negotiable maybe this sectarianism is not and is almost certainly going to create conditions for its stability. it talks about things it describes as looming this equilibria.
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it anticipated this chronic instability is something we would see and they highlighted places where you could see things like this failure to respond to this crisis has led in part to the horrific consequences today. if we don't want either camp to win tomorrow because they're bad guys and both sides there certain things we have to do. they must degrade the regime and extremist capabilities to create conditions for moderates. also we have to mitigate the regime and the extremists ability to continue to do damage today. simply doing humanitarian aid is addressing the symptoms. what are we doing to stop the foreign fighters and what are we doing to stop the bomb some more humanitarian crises aren't created tomorrow.
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las vegas rules do not apply in syria. i applaud the committee for here holding this hearing specifically on the spillover effects in the region because what happens in syria will not remain in syria. >> well thank you both for some very insightful and alarming testimony. let me ask you both and dr. levitt at the end of your statement, if you were in a position to describe policy what would you say, both of you what would you say you would do and i will start with you. >> to me i don't think we are going to be able to make an enormous difference on the battlefield in syria so i would define it in to dinner ways. one is containing the impact of
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the spillover reducing the amount of foreign fighters to battlefield making sure we can attract them and reducing the humanitarian cost of the war but i think above all else we have to commit to a policy. we shouldn't be on the fence between the regime change and the spillover. i think mineta make a choice. i understand many colleagues have a very different view than i do in that regard. >> thank you. i completely agree with the things we need to do but i also agree that foreign fighters control the border of turkey. how do we deny the assad regime complete control? that doesn't have to be our boots on the ground. as not to be providing manpower to sketchy characters. we have other allies in the region and there are things we should be thinking about doing creatively in that area. a certain point me to consider things that weren't on the table when we were talking about a red line sometime ago that don't
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necessarily escalate things too far. it's my understanding there are 15 to 20 when is in the entire country of syria that are capable of taking the mass of airplanes and delivering supplies from iran and russia both direct lee to the assad regime and hezbollah and their allies. they're all kinds of complications with this but if we are able to do that than the consequence the day after is they would not fail to get the weapons and resupply they are using a daily basis to create this humanitarian catastrophe. >> both of you reference the challenge of those foreign fighters inside of syria returning to their countries or elsewhere. obviously if you take one of your policy suggestions which is to control the borders and avoid foreign fighters from coming and you have one part of your answer but how do we deal with the
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question of returning foreign fighters? senescence are reliving out what's happening in syria without qaeda groups active in syria, iraq and lebanon? are they in essence a jv team getting ready for varsity play? >> it's going to be writing dancers. some people don't necessarily go to the frontline for emotional reasons and others do. and so the question for those who do is are they ideological radicalized or is this something that could be incorporated which is a tremendous problem for some of the countries in the region especially those who have equal regimes. were going over and fighting is against the law. that means they don't have the options and they generally try to monitor but there are all sorts of people who have gone over aren't necessarily on the
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radar screen which creates an intelligence problem where i think the u.s. can be very help all to partner nations. >> is the chairman is aware by recently published a book on hezbollah and the i met with a senior intelligence officials around the world. different countries have different words of dealing with it from freezing peoples passports to denying citizenship. here in the united states this is a massive problem. we have 50 people who have gone reportedly. neither the services here are not getting more full-time employee ears but they need to keep taxing everyone these people and by the way it's not just isis or al-nusra. people are going to fight with not yet designated groups are also a significant problem. one thing officials told me is they are seeing increasingly
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because syria is a defensive jihad. people are told book the west isn't going to defend the sunni women and children so we have to do it or our own but when they get there most of these people who end up fighting with the elements and they do i'm told by these intelligence officials come back far more radicalized. not all of them but the vast majority do and it creates a tremendous problem. >> follow-up question. how much of the current activity in syria, lebanon and iraq for flex strategy guidance or operational directions from the pakistan-based to al qaeda? in your perspectives? >> that's an excellent question and it's difficult to know in part because we are trying to interpret what kind of guidance might given by an organization that tries to keep its guidance hidden from view. we can see a few areas in which
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we could interpret them fairly well. we can see public messaging for example forward to syrian jihad is put at the forefront. eighth uso tends not to become as operationally involved that is micromanaging things on the ground. instead the model they have tended to use his then centralization of strategy and decentralization of implementation so it would absolutely be a shock if we found also while hari directed operations on the ground in syria. one final thing i will note, where reid came to see the guy is coming from the broader al qaeda -- al qaeda network that kind of tensions that currently exist where baraka shamus kicked out. subsequent to the assassination of an al qaeda figure zawahiri one of the groups chaboti
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al-nusra plan to attack ices. you had a number of al qaeda affiliated clerics come out and condemn the ultimatum. after which chaboti al-nusra did that. when an organization at to try to get to an outcome in a certain way it does make an impact. again that's not to say that their micromanaging tactics but you can see the influence of strategic guidance. >> and a nutshell i've agree with everything being said but i would at this. you're announcing in choosing situation were isis is arguably the most capable as most extreme on the ground that is broken without qaeda and one al qaeda core it will be interesting to see if this leads to the downgrading of ices or f. al qaeda's brand neither of which could happen.
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i'll story was assassinated and was affiliated with the rall usher him and his assassination was another message that they are not really taking the al qaeda core leaders message very seriously. i think what we are going to see from here going forward is the proliferation of affiliates and not affiliates without necessarily seeing al qaeda core disappeared. as a set of my statement you have al qaeda core of raising funds in kuwait and qatar in some of the money being funneled through iran with iran's knowledge. it doesn't get more complicated than that. >> thank you both for helping the committee in its further understanding of the challenges in syria. with the appreciating gin up this committee this record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow and the hearing is adjourned.
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> we do not have a criminal investigation role. we have a fast enforcement role. one of the most critical things the agency does is to enforce the federal securities laws. we also write the rules by the way for wall street and broker-dealers and investment advisers but we don't have a criminal authority. who have the power to bring with the approval of our commission civil actions civil fraud actions and negligence actions against those who violate the federal securities laws so he can't send anybody to jail but we can assess civil penalties. frankly our level of penalties isn't as high as we would like it to be and there is legislation in congress to give us in a ballot -- ability to assess higher -- and the profits they make from
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the wrongdoing and we have the power and appropriate case to bar somebody from the securities industry so they can't basically live another day to defraud again. >> the senate will be in order. the opening prayer will be offered by his holiness the dalai lama.
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>> go ahead. it's all yours. >> firstly as usual the symbol of a monk. to pray to budha and all of the gods. [speaking in native tongue] see the first sentence i will
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read. in my broken english the enunciation may not be correct. [laughter] with our that -- we make our world. our mind is centered on speak or act with a pure mind. and happiness will follow you. like a shadow that never leaves. the second sentence. [speaking in native tongue] may there be joy in the world with bountiful harvest and spiritual breath.
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may every good fortune come to be and made all of our wishes be forfeited. [speaking in native tongue] this is my favorite prayer. daily i pray this. it gives me inner strength. as long as beings remain until then may i too remained and how to -- the misery of the world. thank you.
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>> i rise today to speak about the need to strengthen our military and standby our brave men and women in uniform by passing the bipartisan military justice improvement act. i want to start by thanking all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for the seriousness with which they have approached this issue and the effort they
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have committed to looking at the solution of survivors of sexual assault to the military are asking for. i want to specifically thank my friends from missouri and new hampshire for their determination and leadership in fighting for victims of sexual assault in our military. i look forward to voting to -- for the bill on the floor today. i would allow like to do for the colloquy to senator inhofe. >> madam president. >> the senator from oklahoma. >> madam president when the majority leader said the congress cannot idly stand by and not do anything i have to remind him that we have been doing this for quite some time. we have been working on this, the problem of sexually assaults and the reality is that congress has been aggressive in instituting reforms to tackle the essential assault in the
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military since fiscal year 09. the defense authorization act, we have an active 47 provisions either directly addressing sexual assault or instituting reforms to the uniform code of military justice will improve efforts to address allegations of misconduct. these reforms have strengthened the protections in the care of victims while preserving the rights of the queues. these historic reforms are vital to ensuring the sound and effective and fair military justice system. now i look at the bill that we are considering that will be coming up in a short while. the bill would modify the court-martial convening authority in a way that i believe creates really serious procedural problems.
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.. ong delays in bringing some cases to trial and if a conviction ultimately results could produce still more years of appellant litigation, perhaps ultimately culminating in its conviction's reversal. now, the matters that are really worse are the bill includes a requirement that the new military judge advocate billets required to perform these duties must be taken from existing billets. billets. >> and this is what we have been fighting about and arguing about. and no bill is authorized with this. so have to come from an existing bill. i received a personal letter from the judge advocate general of the army. and he will be and he said that the bill would not we cost
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neutral according to initial estimates. the army would require an additional judge advocate colonel including about 200 judge advocates and others and that is a cool and she went on to say that this is happening at a time that they are accommodating the shrinking budget and that is just the impact on the army. on november 18, 2013, the department has provided an assessment of the spell with program the valuations that estimates a total cost of over 100 her teen million dollars per year. that is every year to implement the bill in the army and navy and air force and marines.
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not only is it not executable in a cost neutral basis, but it's not possible to grow to total inventory is nearly 600 judge advocates require by the bill within the hundred 80 days. the decision that we make today will have a significant consequence on the future of our military and more significant than the bill that we are in debating this week threatens to tear apart what i strongly believe is the armed forces armed forces and the chain of command. i cannot find people that i can confide in who have been in the military who don't agree with this. you know, i would say that i was in the military and the united states army, not at the level that some of the senators who have been more recently a part of this, senator graham, at a higher level. and a lot of times that the
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enlisted personnel really know more about the situation them of their bosses. and i was firmly convinced that this is years ago, that you cannot lessen the chain of command. when you stop and think about what a commander has to do, he is required to take care of the physical conditions and the medical conditions of our. required to perform training and to have medical care if they are wounded, and the estimate the decision of sending our troops into combat. it is inconceivable to me with all of these responsibilities that he would take this out of the chain. not just me but others as well and she said at a press conference that what you don't understand if you're not in the military as the fabric and the essence, of the military is
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built around the chain of command. if we dismantle it, we are lost. and the chief master sergeant said it would be devastating to the united states military and a commander cannot be held responsible if he doesn't have the authority to act. so i think that those of us who have had a military experience understand the serious problems that could come from this bill and i strongly recommend that we continue the spell. with akamai yield the floor. >> madam president, i would like to yield 10 minutes. >> madam president. >> the senator from maine. >> thank you, madam president. madame, i am relieved that legislation addressing the crisis of military assault has
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finally been brought to the senate floor and i want to commend the senator from new york and the senator from missouri, senator claire mccaskill, for the leadership and bringing this orton issue to the forefront. i also want to acknowledge the courage and conviction of jennifer noris and ruth moore, two individuals who were sexually assaulted while serving our country. they have made it their mission to change this present system that has not put victims first. through their advocacy, they had helped to shine a light on the crisis and they deserve our gratitude. the senator and i were coming to the floor and we were stopped by a reporter who asked us what has
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made the difference and i said it has in the leadership of the senator from new york and the senator from missouri. but i also pointed out that the survivors of military assaults that have come forward and then willing to tell their stories and how painful those stories are. madam president, since 2004, i have been in alarm and asking the military to have a response to the growing crisis of sexual assault in the military, including the need to ensure appropriate punishment for the perpetrators of these crimes to provide adequate care for the survivors and to change the culture across the military so that sexual assault is
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unthinkable. madam president, it was 10 years ago during an armed services committee hearing that i first brought up the alarming increase in the number of sexual assaults in the military. back then the attitude of the witnesses, then the vice chief of staff of the army, testifying that this was completely dismissive, even though these are serious crimes that traumatized survivors and the roads the trust and disciplines and what is fundamental to every military unit. i was appalled at the reaction. while the attitude today among the most senior military leaders is markedly different than the
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one that i encountered a decade ago. marking an end to reality and it remains something wonderful. fostering a culture of zero tolerance so that the number is greatly diminished, remains a goal and not reality. and ensuring that the survivors are not think twice about reporting an assault for fear of retaliation or damage to their careers still not part of the military culture. in 2011 i joined our former colleague in introducing the defense stronghold as an initial step to address this crisis. the provisions of that bill were signed in as part of fiscal year
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2012 defense authorization act provides the assistance of advocates with genuine confidentiality and guaranteed access to an attorney and expedited consideration and this can be transferred far away from the experience and this is a helpful first step. more than anything the victims of sexual assault and survivors need to have the confidence for which we have reported the crime will produce a just and fair result. we need to encourage reporting and that is what the bill of senator gillibrand will accomplish. this is the goal shared by all members of the senate despite
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our differing opinions on the best path forward for achieving these goals. we have included the many survivors of sexual assault and i am pleased to work with both the senators, senator gillibrand and senator mccaskill as well as those including the ranking member important provisions that all of us agree upon, they have been signed into law in part of this past year's national defense authorization act in addition, senator mccaskill and i wrote the mandating of this
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honorable discharge so why should it be a survivor that has the most? the senator and i offered the elements of the accused from the factors that the commanders could consider with what could occur in this civilian system. it eliminates them overturning a conviction for major offenses. i mentioned these reforms because i have been encouraging
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that we take the steps to address these vitally important issues. but more remains to be done. i have remain cognizant of the strong views within this body about how we should best move forward from here and what that may mean for the military's unique legal system. but one of the criticisms which i have totally rejected is that we should just wait a few more for the result of a few more study is, waiting even a few more years to see if the recently enacted provisions have made a difference. i strongly disagree. how many more victims will suffer before we act further? how many more lives must be
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ruined before we take additional steps that we know are required to solve this problem? we have been waiting for the result of these studies and we must continue to enact real reform to increase the confidence to come forward and report this crime to ensure that the perpetrators will be dealt with appropriately and constraints and prevention efforts occur right now. the senator and i would like to mention a reasonable proposal to communicate to the survivors and potential perpetrators alike that one survivors are subjected to these unacceptable and horrific things, they will have
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access to a legal system that fully protects their interests. providing our troops with that confidence is the least that we can do. madam president, i believe that there is no question of congress' commitment to reducing the instances of sexual assault in the military and providing appropriate redress and care for the survivors. while we debate serious proposal, we are united by the need for serious reform that will strengthen the military's response of sexual assault. and the courage of those survivors who are finally
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willing to come forward and tell their stories and know that we would listen to don and leave them and without them we would not be here today. i am certain would reduce the unnecessary suffering by those who have survived these horrific crimes. thank you, madam president. >> madam president, i yield. >> i yield my time to the senator from iowa. >> thank you, madam president. >> the senator from iowa. >> thank you, senator from new york. the defense department have talked about this for a long period of time, but that they are working on the problem of sexual assault and we are still looking for results. and statistics get worse.
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they are saying this is part of their legislation greater transparency brings accountability, and i think that this legislation will make this whole problem much more transparent and within accountability and i appreciate the fact that a large number of commonsense reforms were included in the national defense authorization. these changes were long overdue. but we are past the point of tinkering around. and hoping that out would do the trick. we have problems of tackling sexual assaults in the current system and the problem is not still any better than so we don't have the luxury of time to
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try this with the current system and hope that they have an impact. we have had those promises before. what is more, the current system appears to be part of the problem. i will elaborate on that. 50% did not report to crime because they believed that nothing would be done as a result of their reporting. 74% of the females, 60% of the males perceive one or more barriers in the perceive this and we can act more protections and the military justice is
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having a good effect of these assaults. and that includes and we deserve better than that. our military obviously demands it. taking prosecutions out of the hands of the demanders and those who are dependent out of the chain of command will help ensure impartial justice for the men and women of our forces. i know some senators will be
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nervous about the fact that the military is lobbying against this law legislation. but congress has given the military more than enough time to fix this current system and we can't wait any longer. because of the stars and ribbons, they deserve our respect but not deference to their opinion. and this includes those who are retaining good order sexual assault a part of this.
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if anyone wants assurances that we are on the right track, we can take comfort that the visor he committee supports these reforms. there is an organization that goes by the defense advisory committee that borders overwhelmingly supported each of every one of these components. especially providing recruitment and treatment and etc. with well-being and the well-being of our highly qualified professional women in the armed forces.
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>> it is easier to support incremental reform. it isn't something i approach lighting, but we have waited for years for various initiatives to and tackle this. especially when it comes to sexual assault and we cannot word the way. the time has come to act decisively to change the military culture. we need a clean break from the system were sexual assault isn't reported our men and women deserve nothing less than they deserve it now and they shouldn't have to weight any
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longer. and now is the time for bold action and i would urge my colleagues to join s the time fd action and i would urge my colleagues to join in the effort. >> madam president, i would like to thank senator gillibrand and another mccaskill for their dedication and commitment to dealing with sexual assault in the military. i believe we must do more.
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my perspective on prosecuting military sexual assault comes for my 33 years in the montana national guard. my view on this is simple. the current system it changes how we deal with sexual assault in the military. it is about more that we go forward from here. in the armed forces, the military commander is responsible for the prosecution of these crimes.
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removing the prosecution of military commanders much like the montana national guard system. one of the arguments i've heard against this bill is that it we get the prosecution of sexual assault outside of the chain of command, military leaders with somehow lose their authority on other matters. as a retired military commander, i am confident that this is not the case. we are disciplined with compliance of the civilian justice system. i'm not talking hypotheticals here and it's hard to convey how far we feel when the system fails. today's debate is a part of a broader effort to talk about our
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military and those who have served from the justices them to ensuring when they complete their service and we have the opportunity to guarantee justice for the men and women within our military and to correct the failures and. >> the senator from kentucky. >> having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way. but you can never again say that you didn't know. having heard this story of sexual assault in the military, we can look away but we can never say that we cannot have heard of this problem and we will it more this problem. i don't think anyone in this body wants to. but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a
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different result. we've known that sexual assault in the military has been on decade after decade and i think that it's time that we tried something new. when i heard of a young military recruits from ice day, a young woman who was raped and attacked and beaten to a pulp, her legs and heads bruised, she considered suicide, i heard that her right hip was lost in the case was dismissed, i am disheartened. her assailant is still in the navy. and we have to do something different and we cannot ignore this problem. to me it is as simple as you should have to report your saltier boss and that is what we are talking about. what if your boss was drinking with the person who assaulted you and who is friends with them. wouldn't we want to have lawyers involved with this whose
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specialty is this type of thing? i'm not saying that it is easy. guild is sometimes hard to find and justice is hard wired. but we have evidence that people don't trust the system. but many of these victims are part of this and people are afraid or ashamed or don't feel like they can talk about this publicly. but we should do everything possible to make sure that it's easy to report this because we don't want this to occur. they have the men and women that serve and this is a problem that overwhelms the military than 26,000 people have happened to them. it is about justice for victims
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when you get this out of the arbitrary nature and we are going to hear arguments on both sides. i can to protect the innocent as well as what he said. and i suggest to the senate that we understand that the problem goes on in the tweaking this problem or nibbling around the edges and saying we are just going to wait and see what we are doing is better, that's what we've been doing for 20 years. so thank you.
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>> the senator from missouri. >> i would like to yield there is absolutely no doubt when a sexual assault approaches that a military unit and service members are a victim or a perpetrator of sexual all, then we all fail. it's not just a military chain of command but all of us. and that is why senator mccaskill and senator gillibrand have been so critical and so very worn. galvanizing this and forcing action or action wasn't being taken. another lesson is what is the pathway forward with what we will achieve what we want to do. sexual abuse in the military. i expressed our concerns with the approach that the senator is taking because i believe based upon experience that leadership has to be involved in every
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stage in recruitment and training and evaluation and retention. and when we take the commanders out of any of these steps, we diminish their effectiveness and every one of these things. to remove the commander from the responsibilities, in my view we judge his or her effectiveness in a test of that effectiveness is not in the courtroom, is on the battlefield. and the consequences are such that it could be significant with the forces. so we have to continue to maintain the existence that recognizes the need of the constant leadership and command and focus on this issue. and we also have to recognize that the proposal being put forward today is not just about extra dues but a wide range of
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offenses like equipment and it covers a host of crimes that are not directly related to this. as a result, this system has been created and some traditional situations have been reserved. but a significant amount of charges have been referred with these profits. it will cause practical problems that will undercut the units of reform and to do what is necessary. to protect the airmen and marines. a very experienced legal officer that served with several defects. some cases will be referred to
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as special prosecution. others will create multiplicity of venues and investigations and perhaps decisions and all of that with the sense that soldiers and have that they know what the system is. second, this proposal takes away one of the most significant aspects that is nonjudicial punishment. for example, you could feel that they have a certain amount to trigger a charge for the special prosecution. that special prosecution if they decline goes back to the company
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commander. and so the simple fact that the accused has to accept the punishment. but if there is no way he or she can be caught, that punishment will not be accepted. this includes what is properly tried or adjudicated, they will not only go unpunished for the whole climate of command could be reduced. in this proposal, you have the creation of a single office with the authority to appoint judges and court martial is at the constitutional division. and let me conclude by saying that we have had a vigorous debate and it has been an important debate. and we have the opportunity to get the result of the commander
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subcommittee in response to the panel. these are objective and many of them have 10 years in the forefront of urging sensible reform with military to be on the vanguard of protecting victims and many different forms and may have quoted that this should remain within the system. it should remain with corrections and improvements. so i would urge that we strongly consider the provisions of senator ayotte and senator mccaskill and senator fisher have her post. but i must say that it would be detrimental in the long run, not
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only to those with military force, but detrimental to our common goal, which is to reduce sexual abuse within the military of the united states. if we do not do that, if we allow it to you, it will undermine our forces more than anything else. committed to that goal, i believe we should support senator mccaskill and i am pleased to do so. with akamai yield the floor. >> madam president. >> the senator from new york. >> ideal time to the senator from california to. >> thank you very much, madam president. a few, senator for your extraordinary leadership. we are here today for two things. one is to support both bills, which i believe we should, in one is an attack on the senator gillibrand belt. which for the life of me i do not understand is.
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i think it is important. and i'm not going to filibuster senator johanns bill because of the opportunity to bring about the change that the survivors of sexual assault are pushing for. those who are supporting the senator gillibrand belt. when people attack that, i want you to remember a few a few of these. we are talking about the veterans of america. do you want to listen to the democrats or the people? vietnam veterans of america, the servicewomen action network. the national congress of lack
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women incorporated. the ywca. forty-five organizations that have been put into the record. so i have a strong record. do not let your justice. don't filibuster the mccaskill bill. my goodness, they deserve to be elected on their bill. the only reason that i think some are part of a filibuster on this bill is because they know that we have a majority. and just how strong it is, we will find out. seventeen women in the united states senate support both. in 19 of the 20 women that we are facing a filibuster on this bill. not filibuster justice.
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it is pretty simple. i think it is important to find a little humility. and so a man named javier serving in the marine corps, he was brutally raped and physically assaulted by a group of fellow marines. fearing for her life and ashamed, he kept his rate a secret for 15 years. you know what it's like to keep a secret like that? to suffer the pain and humiliation? for 15 years. when he finally found the courage to share his story, he added to write it down and i want to listen to his words. he said my experience has me torn apart physically and mentally and spiritually.
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i was dehumanized and treated by mike perpetrators. i was embarrassed and ashamed and i didn't know what to do. i was young at the time and being part of an elite organization that talks about brotherhood and integrity, and made it hard to come forward and reveal what has happened. well, here we are two decades later and no one has been held accountable for that heinous crime. and it goes on and on. and i appreciate senator paul reading what happened and you will hear the voices of the status quo in this. and let me tell you, we are in great company of the status quo. let me tell you some of the voices of the status quo. republicans and democrats.
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dick cheney, 1992. we have a major effort underway to try to educate everyone. let them know what we have to do and secretary, we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment and this is going on and on. twenty years in that spirit continues right here today. so secretary cohen, i intend to have a strict policy heard secretary rumsfeld, sexual assault will not be tolerated. so we have no tolerance for this. secretary hagel, this has no latest and greatest military on earth. so who could argue with words? but let's look at where we are
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today in terms of what was actually going on on the ground. so i say to those of an up or down vote, look at these facts. there are 26,000 cases of sexual assault in the military in 20 12. 1.2% of them have been prosecuted.. this circle represents in the we know what happens to those people who get out, they continue their activities in the military or on the street of our city. and they will tell you oh, my goodness, we can make this change. even though 45 organizations including iraq and afghanistan
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tell us to do so. so another way to look at it this 26,000 estimated assaults in 2012. we have a 90% problem. 90% go unreported. are they that surprise to go to the commander? to ask him. don't look at senator gillibrand or me. we are not in the military. the people who are in the military are begging us and every organization is asking to please change it. so what would you do? would you call the police or
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decide who needs to be prosecuted? would you call the experts? so i don't think that the ceos should decide whether a case of rape should be prosecuted. but yet that is what you are supporting with the commander who knows all of this. and then he goes out to have a drink with the perp. i know that senator mccaskill is trying to fix these almonds around the edges. okay, fine. but let's get to the heart of the matter. and so here is my summation. we can continue the 20 years of learning and not make the change that needs to be made under the important bill. saying that we are keeping this in the military but we are allowing the experts to make this decision and that is fair
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to the accuser and the accused. and they matter a matter of fact, we have people supporting us because they believe it is fair to both sides and not just one or the other. so let's not filibuster just as. don't stand up and say how you care about things and then filibuster this bill. because you will be judged on that vote. if you have problems with the details, vote against the bill. but don't filibuster justice. this is a chance that we have an opportunity that we have. yes, it will be revisited over and over again because we don't make these changes it is important. but today is an important moment in time to allow an up or down vote and i think that we would bring some needed change we have
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the families of survivors and we are going to be a little humble. >> madam president enact. >> senator? remark i yield tenants to that senator from michigan. >> madam president, thank you to senator mccaskill for her terrific leadership on this matter. senator ayotte and others on our community who work so hard to strengthen our laws against sexual assault and strengthen the ability of our commands to act as we did in our defense authorization bill in the second bill that we will be voting on today. we are voting on two bills regarding the assault on our military and i believe that the
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strongest and most effective approach that we can take to reduce sexual assault is to hold the commanders accountable for establishing and maintaining a command client that does not tolerate sexual assault. in order to do that we must maintain the important authority that prosecutes sexual assault that our military commanders have and includes greater accountability. the evidence shows that removing this authority would weekend this and our response to the urgent problem and that is why i believe that the bill offered by the senator and others who offer hope that it will strengthen and have the exact opposite effect. we have learned this during the period and commanders prosecute the assault cases and civilian
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individuals decline it. we have learned that our military allies whose policies have been cited in support of removing the commanders authorities generally make their changes to protect the rights of the accused and not the victims. and we have learned that there is no evidence that there are changes with any increase of the assault. so when the allies make the change not to protect the victims but to increase the right of the accused, it did not lead to any increase in the result. just a few days ago on january 29, we received the conclusion of a report to adult sexual assault crimes panel. an independent panel of legal and military action of diverse background that was established
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by congress and how to respond to this issue. and a subcommittee of the panel addressed the role of sexual assault and the very issue that we will be voting on today. and there is no evidence supporting the conclusion to reduce the incidence of sexual assault or increased sexual assault. the subcommittee reached that conclusion despite the fact that many members say that the process is not outright support of of the notion and that we should remove the commanders authority. so here's what a few members of the subcommittee said. the former congresswoman elizabeth holsinger. she said, and she's a member of
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the subcommittee. she said i change my mind because i was listening to what we heard and i started off thinking why not. now i am saying why change. and she said just turning it over to prosecutors doesn't mean you're going that you're going to get the result you are looking for. the congresswoman is the author of the slot when she was a member of congress and another member of the committee said that if you remove this authority, there is no purple evidence that the reporting will increase and she said if i were persuaded, that it would encourage victims to report and listen to me fernandez. she is the executive director of the national center for victims of crime. she's a member of this panel and
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this is what she says about the proposal to remove commanders authority to prosecute. when you hear it at first blush, you go yes, i want to go with that. and then she said when you hear the facts like you would in a cave, it just doesn't hold up. so they had no stars on their shoulders, they are not pentagon insiders, they are an independent panel that we, in congress, passed on this issue. underlining the assault in the military is a problem of culture that has been too permissive and may also be a sexual predator drone to this with sexual assault. the military has unique tools to
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address those problems. foremost, among those tools, is the authority of the commander to his devilish a command climate by giving orders and enforcing discipline. at every time in our history when our military the displays this with racial discrimination in the 1940s and 50s, the whole don't ask don't tell in our time, every time it was commanders with the authority to initiate a court martial. that have been essential. and at the same time that we demand this military culture to take on a sexual assault problem. and is the most powerful tools to achieve change.
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and this includes the new separate position authorities and other serious crimes. and we have this authority to deal with. in a letter to me under the undersecretary of defense, and fiscal year 2012 the department of defense estimates that it handled more than 5600 cases and it would be referred to this new disposition if it were created in two thirds of those cases did not involve sexual assault. so the bill, including dozens of military lawyers that will spend only a third of its time dealing with the problem that we are trying to solve. the problem of sexual assault.
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the defense authorization act was reenacted just a few months ago an important new protections and provisions. it provides victims of sexual assault with her own legal counsel specially trained to assist it makes retaliation of crime and that retaliation against victims who report sexual assault. it requires the inspector general investigate all complaints of retaliation and any decision by a command or not prosecute a sexual assault complaint that will have this in nearly all cases and in certain cases by the service secretary in the highest civilian authority in each service. we will learn more about the, it
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provides additional protection for those we added in the defense authorization act. and the bill would ensure that victims have a voice to be prosecuted with special victims council established by the defense authorization act advising those on the pros and cons of those who protest. it requires the commanding officers be graded on their success or failure in creating a climate in which there is no tolerance for sexual misconduct in which the victims can come forward here. these additional protection help us answer the key question. how can we best strengthen our protection against military sexual assault. and i believe that we do so by empowering victims in my holding
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things accountable. if we undermine the authorities of various commanders who must be at the heart of the solution leading us to the conclusion that we should not remove the authority of commanders to prosecute these cases. i think the presiding officer and i yield the floor. >> the senator from york. >> i yield my time to the senator from new hampshire. >> thank you, madam president. thank you senator gillibrand. i rise today in strong sub were of the military justice improvement act and want to ask all of the senators have worked hard with all of the group good that has been involved. i was very proud to be an original cosponsor of the legislation. after more than a year but meeting with military sexual
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assault and bringing attention to this, i am encouraged by historic opportunities that we have today. this is an important debate for us to be having. and i applaud the senators and everyone who have been involved in this effort because i think it sends an important message to our leaders and the military and to those that were perpetrated the crimes of sexual violence. not only taking meaningful commonsense reform to military criminal justice systems, but we also have a chance to send a powerful message to the tens of thousands of victims who have been suffering quietly for decades about what has happened to them and it is not acceptable. it is criminal and it will no longer be tolerated.
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so let's be clear. sexual assault is a crime is not an accident or a mistake, but a violent criminal act perpetrated by serial offenders. and we cannot allow sexual assault perpetrators to escape justice in any setting, but particularly when these occur within our nation's military. unfortunately, it has been 23 years since the scandal and despite the repeated assurances that the chain of command is committed to addressing this issue, we are no closer to a solution. so how long will we wait. we have the structural biases that persist in our military justice system.
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and no one wants to do that. this is about access to justice. survivors overwhelmingly tell us that the reason that they do not come forward is because they don't trust that chain of command. they don't trust the chain of command will handle their case objectively. a fact that has been repeatedly acknowledged by military leaders during armed services committee hearings. so placing the decision on how to have the hand of experienced military prosecutors is a commonsense reform that will go a long way towards promoting transparency and accountability within our system. our military's tradition are too important when victims of sexual assault have the confidence to come forward and report crime. and we removed dear and stigma
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from the process. we strengthened our military and we are able to deliver fair and impartial justice on behalf of victims. victims eyes are on us today. they are a strong display today and i urge all of my colleagues to support this measure and let's make meaningful reform to what has happened to victims of sexual assault in the military. thank you. i yield the floor. >> the senator from missouri's madam chairman, i rise to senator ayotte and we ask if we have 20 minutes of time we can engage in a colloquy about this important position with the united states senate. we have a great policy debate
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and i don't think anyone in the united states senate has spent more time in a courtroom putting perpetrators and prison that have been a part of this. it is an incredible amount of pressure when you walk into a courtroom knowing that that has brought us forward and i am forever marked by that experience that i have become convinced it will not always work for victims. in fact, it is clear that when these changes have been enacted in other places, that reporting is clear that we have more cases going to court-martials over the
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objections of prosecutors and commanders. and the commander said go for it. almost 100 caseys and a lot two years where prosecutors have said this is part of it. we cannot let the commanders walkaway and there is nothing in the senator gillibrand proposal that provides this from retaliation. if you walk off i would ask senator graham he walked back into this unit and have been victimized in the unit knows the commander has said this case is going forward, how about contrast to walking back into a unit when the unit knows we have
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this hundreds of miles away. i plan to figure out how removing the commander provides any additional protections to that victim. >> the man or woman in charge of that unit is the person that we give ultimate authority to for that unit. so if you deal with a commander, this is the worst thing that could happen in the unit, for the commander to say that this is no longer my problem. it is your problem, commander, and every commander that i have met wants to continue to have this be their problem because when you have one member of a unit opposing the other, it is the person that we choose as a
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nation and the commander has the absolute and if you don't give that tool and hold them accountable, it is no substitute for the commander was there every day. >> i'm also talking about some of the things in this policy and i cannot figure out why this has additional resources and it prohibits the military from bringing additional resources. and we want to do our very best job and we do not have enough to set up these officers on this.
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including that we have been a prosecutor and in addition to not protecting us from retaliation but removing them from their accountability. >> i think the senator for her leadership on this. you are correct i appreciate your leadership on this and under the system that is put forward, let me thank her for her passion about this issue as well. it prohibits funding and personnel and how does that work when we set up a whole new system and i worry about the system when you are in iraq or afghanistan and you are a victim. will they be in washington
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making this decision? we won't be able to put any additional resources towards it. other problems in implementation have been a part of this as well. and then the defendant cannot be prosecuted well beyond this issue of sexual assault that we are committed to addressing. and it is a due process concerns about this and i want to raise the question that keeps coming up. we need to hold them more accountable and we cannot allow them off the hook. and if we take them out of this
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equation and they will actually have it be part of and how we handle these cases and in this is not the status quo because we want this to be more accountable. but we want the victims to come forward as a prosecutor and i would say this and more victims will come forward if we actually pass this proposal because why are we here. will more victims seek justice in this is part of it? this is what we are trying to get at ultimately. and i went into this thinking that the legislation made sense. but when you hear the facts, it doesn't hold up very well. and this is the woman who talks
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about are in higher nation. and she realizes that when they looked at the data, how our allies have done this and not in one nation after years of experience. and the way that we were increased to is to have a new mayor. and they have power and deference in the process. >> senator, if you want to define leadership in the definition of leadership in 2014, senator claire mccaskill, senator ayotte and the great senator from nebraska.
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taking on an issue head-on. from our democratic colleagues. we are going to stick with making the reforms without destroying the commander's role in the military and this is not a legal debate here. how many of you have done a court-martial and i have done hundreds and this is not some casual event to me. in might get us to the promised land of having this because of
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the people. including senator levin. we have brought about one allowing a lawyer to be a assigned to every victim. and this is about the commander. every member of this body would raise their hand because we have the best lawyers in the world and we have the best commanders, men and women. to defend this nation and have power and responsibility that most of you could never envision. so why are we taking this out of
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the commanders purview. one with the military justice system and i want to help victims and i also want a fair trial. but the one thing that i will not say is that commanders that exist because you have the ability because of your sense of justice and we are going to take the authority that you have had to make sure you're ready to go to war because what other conclusion can you come to. the next time you see someone who is a senior member, there are only 3% that make these decisions. these are our wing commanders in our fleet commanders and our brigade commanders and the
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people that we entrust and hold accountable as we fight and win the war. ladies and gentlemen, if you care about what military lawyers and, every judge advocate general is asking us not to do this. the people don't want to because they understand that the commander is different than a lawyer. so the first judge advocate general has made it so that we do not do this. this is not a legal issue alone but how you maintain the best military in the world area and if you want to create confusion and if you want to tell every enlisted person that should be looking up, they have these kinds of matters and there is a very confusing message. we have had some bad commanders and i want to end my thoughts
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with this. i have confidence in you that you will take the system to a new level and we need to up the game. thank you for commanding the finest military in the world. and i will do nothing saying that you're morally bankrupt because i don't believe that. >> senator graham, i respect your time working in the trenches. i will say that i am less concerned about the pro-commanders and i am victims. i do believe that there are commanders will be held accountable for their failure to act for their ability to sweep
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this under the rug throughout history. including the the data that we have had in one of the things that i want to go over and mention is that it's important to understand we have the system's response panel. and they took this matter up and we have had no witnesses from the job corps. those two witnesses were three of them, they had no time to deeply go into this complex subject. it was created by congress and we have this as we have the clear advice on the best way to create this problem in the military. this includes the majority of
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civilians and women that have made of this panel. and there have been 150 witness is over months from all of the people that are advocating. and they came out overwhelmingly rejecting this proposal. one of the most interesting members and we would begin this assuming that there's some equation of a commander and if only it were that simple. but it's not that simple. the judge who wrote the decision such as turning it over doesn't mean that you will get the results you're looking for.
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and it doesn't mean that you're going to get the results you're looking for. there's no evidence of this in the system. and so that is startling for the r and so that is startling for the response. 150 witnesses, majority civilians. this is not a bumper sticker or as simple as a sound. i would never oppose anything that i thought was going to help put more perpetrators in prison ever. this one had the opposite impact that many of the advocates are indicating that it would. so there we are. >> this panel took on the key questions. and that is why we doing this.
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i believe victims will do justice and i want to hold the commanders accountable for not only how they handle each crime but for that zero tolerance policy in that panel found that there is no evidentiary basis to support this conclusion to reduce the incident of sexual assault to establish that climate within the unit to do so or increase the reporting of sexual assault and i would also say that we want justice for victims, what about those 93 victims were the commanders said bring the case forward even though they said no. so the evidence of the opposite. and there will be more, the evidence shows the commanders
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are bringing the case is more frequently than lawyers and over objectives. and none of the military justice systems of our allies have changed or were set up to deal the problem of sexual assault. so those allies have taken it out of the chain of command in this channel said that none of them can attribute any changes to changing the role of the best. we were told from the beginning that our allies have changed the so that more people will come forward. what we weren't as many of the allies are going to protect the defendant in our reporting has actually since 2013 gone up 80% in the army. and we have special victims councils for every single victim that we have already had on the
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site. >> nobody seems to think it is going to help the problem because you can't solve the problem in the military in that way. so i can't think of any change in the military that is major and substantial that can happen without the chain of command being held accountable and i'd like to say this. to those who believe that our military is set up for a visit this case is never heard, just put yourself under the rug. the general court martial committee hearing applies this and it is not rampant in the military or this will go into the commander this needs to be prosecuted as a commander says i don't want for this.
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and the opposite is true or they will say we are moving forward. but what have we done? if you have a judge advocate that recommends the constitution and the four areas in question with sexual assault and the commander refuses to prosecute, that decision kills to the secretary of service. so if you're wondering about this, you are inviting the whole chain of command. this includes a class of americans that deserve praise and the bottom line is that the commander refuses this interest. >> one minute. >> they refuse to include the recommendation goes to the secretary of service. if the jack and commander both say that this is not a case we want to prosecute within the area, it goes to the commander and there is the key to fixing
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this problem that is the commanders. the key to maintaining a well-run military that is the commander and winning an award as the commander and bring to justice is the court-martial panel and the judge and the jury since 9/11. and please do not change the structure of the military because of this issue. we have included those in the military and members of the senate.
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>> i yield my time to the senator from nevada. >> the senator from nevada. >> thank you, madam president. i would first like to thank senator phil gramm, senator gaskell and senator ayotte for their hard work on this issue and my friend from south carolina to work on this also. moving today to debate and vote on this issue i am president, our military is a great fighting force, the greatest the world has ever known.
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we continue to volunteer to serve and protect our nation. the vast majority of these men and women serve with honor and there are a few actors who commit crime against their fellow citizens. and the military justice is done handles sexual assault within this rank. after careful consideration, the military today is equipped and that is why senator gillibrand is part of this. like everyone else in this chamber, i am disappointed that we ever got to this point. no soldier can have their service to graded here with dishonorable conduct. there has been ample opportunities for military to address this issue and too much
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time has passed without this problem being resolved. it is time for responsibility to protect the best that america has to offer. this need to feel confident in reporting crimes of sexual assault and victims must be confident that justice will be served. the legislation will accomplish these goals. new military structure will no longer be part of this. but these changes are long overdue and will hold the military to the highest standard that they strive towards your night encouraged the rest my colleagues to keep our commitment to protect the men and women who are honorably serving our nation. thank you, madam president.
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>> president? >> the senator from new hampshire. >> i yield my time is senator mccaskill to the senator from nebraska. >> i am president? >> thank you, madam president. horizon full support of the proposal is before us today. we have his work with ones that have already been part of this to combat sexual assault in the military. i would like to express concern with the senator gillibrand proposal to remove this from this process. i believe that that is going to undermine credibility and accountability. i'm glad that we are having this debate on the war because every member of the senate agrees that this is a problem that makes sense. the armed services committee have focused on this issue and it cuts across ideology and
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across regions. it also cuts across party lines and i was happy to work across the aisle with senator shaheen improving the standards with sexual assault prevention. i am pleased to join with senator women thought to ensure that victims rights are protected under the uniform code. it shows congress at its best. so although we may disagree, we do share the same values. senator mccaskill and senator gillibrand have been a part of this when we held that landmark hearing to explore the problem of sexual violence last june. the committee received inputs with our colleagues who have had a meaningful series of reforms
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when we passed the defense authorization act and this is something we can all be proud of your including overturning the jury conviction and retaliation against victims of crime and require dishonorable discharge or dismissal for those addicted of sexual assault. now we are trying to strengthen that. .. of victims and it willen hance the tools to prosecute the criminals. specifically, our bill extends the current protections to service academies. that is so important. that's in our bill. it boosts the evaluation standards for commanders, also important. it allows the victims increased input,


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